It was the sun, of course, that brought me to Florida. I just couldn’t stand another dreary winter day in Toronto and I was homesick for the sun-drenched mountains of Jamaica. So, when I slipped on the ice and smacked myself silly (again!), it was the last straw. Within days I had applied for permission to immigrate to America. And here I am today, golfed out after two successive days on the links and smugly surveying those Facebook pictures posted by snow-bound relatives back in Canada.
But there are worse things than snow.
Butterfly ballots… Stand-your-ground injustice… Voter suppression… Denial of Medicaid benefits to the state’s working poor… Rick Scott as governor…
To name a few. (And did I mention the fire ants? The mosquitoes? The gnats?)
It takes a lot of sunshine to balance that kind of list.
And Florida is far from unique. Texas is worse. Alabama is worse. Louisiana is worse. Georgia is worse. Mississippi – oh my God, Mississippi! How can anyone stand to live in Mississippi?
I could go on and on, through the South, past the black-eyed peas of South Carolina, over the Tennessee and North Carolina mountains and through the Kentucky coal fields, across the Heartland, beyond the pastures of Wyoming and the farmlands of Idaho and Indiana…
This land is my land now, but there are vast swaths of it that I could never bear to live in.
And then there’s Vermont.
Everything I know about Vermont warms my heart. There’s grand ol’ Bernie – Independent Senator Sanders – who battles ceaselessly for the downtrodden, who is always on the right side of history, who represents the America I came looking for.
There’s Howard Dean (of primal scream fame), the state’s former governor, who fights the good fight on TV while the “conservative” horde nips at his heels.
And this from the Daily Kos today:
Vermont is using authority granted under the Affordable Care Act to start a single-payer system. Most Americans still don’t know what the phrase “single-payer” even means. It had little support in Congress in 2009 and Senate “Democrats” like Nelson and Lieberman even killed the public option. But, ACA had this sweet little provision that allowed states to set up a single-payer system and now people will see it in action. You know what that means.
I know what that means. I had immigrated to Canada when Tommy Douglas introduced Saskatchewan’s comprehensive health care system. And I saw it spread to the rest of the country. Today, all Canadians enjoy free health care – and it’s great!
It’s no wonder Sandra wants us to move to Vermont (if I won’t move back to Canada). But she is Florida-born and what does she know about the Vermont weather? True, there are no hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, mudslides or tornadoes there. But she has never experienced a nor’easter or an ice storm. And she has no idea of the meaning of the word “cold.” She shivers when the temperature here plunges into the 60s.
In Vermont, it gets below zero – Fahrenheit. And the sun is a rare sight during those long New England winters.
Then there’s the snow (pictured above).
But, as I said, there are worse things than snow. Worse things than sub-zero cold.
Perhaps we should move to Vermont, after all.